A group of documentary filmmakers go into the wilderness looking for a story and find much more than they bargained for. That’s been a staple plot of found footage films since the Blair Witch Project. Or earlier if you accept Cannibal Holocaust as the first film of the genre. Now British filmmaker Kieran Edwards has added his take on it, The Devil’s Familiar. And while nothing groundbreaking, it’s an entertaining example of what can be done with a little money but a lot of talent.
Elliott (Uriel Davies) and Jake (Kieran Edwards) are film students who need a final project in order to graduate. They decide to do an investigation into the Ribbesford Woods Murders which occurred in 2006. One man was found torn apart in the remains of his car, another disappeared in the woods.
They decide to look into the theory that Sally Edwards (Sarah Page), the woman convicted of the crimes was innocent and that a legendary creature was responsible. Along with local zoologist Logan (David Clarke), and Rex (Ross Mooney) whose brother vanished that night they go looking for answers. They won’t like what they find.
The Devil’s Familiar follows the template fairly closely. A camera anonymously sent to the police is the source of the footage. The group starting to fall apart and bicker once they get in the woods. Getting lost in said woods, etc.
But it does it with enough energy that it doesn’t get boring. And I have to give The Devil’s Familiar props for getting more on-screen than a lot of found footage films. Too many of these films keep everything off-screen. Here we get to see what’s behind the killings, something that makes a world of difference.
Running just under an hour The Devil’s Familiar might have fared better with some trimming back to make it a short. Or fleshing out a few plot details a bit more and reaching full feature-length. However, it’s certainly enjoyable for what it is.
The Devil’s Familiar made its debut at this year’s Horror-On-Sea festival and was quickly picked up by Darkside Releasing. Hopefully, details of their plans for it will be announced shortly. Interestingly enough Darkside also picked up Day Of The Stranger from the festival. Its director Thomas Lee Rutter makes an appearance in The Devil’s Familiar.